Organizers of right-wing activist Lauren Southerns Australian tour are refusing to pay a security bill of nearly $70,000, accusing Victoria Police of “victim blaming” after violent Antifa protesters crashed her Melbourne show.
Axiomatic Events was issued with the hefty AU$68,000 (US$49,857) bill for police services after left-wing protesters linked with Antifa targeted the Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux Live event in Melbourne on July 20. Police were forced to close roads due to protests. Protesters threw rocks and charged at a bus as it arrived. Police were assaulted in the clashes as left-wing protesters linked to Antifa began throwing punches.
Axiomatic Events Director Dave Pellowe has sent Victoria Police a letter detailing why the company will not pay – despite the Herald Sun revealing that Southern and her people were warned in advance of the $68,000 security bill – despite the actual cost of police protection totalling AU$230,000.
“The [State of Victoria Premier Daniel] Andrews government has the gall to call this user pays policing, but the reality is that its victim-blaming,” Pellowe said in a statement. “Our event was a normal-sized crowd in a venue that routinely hosts such crowds.
“We broke no laws and went above and beyond to cooperate with police, and greatly appreciate the work they do. But if Police Minister Lisa Neville is looking for creative ways to fundraise for Victoria Police she can keep looking.
“Sending us the bill for their lawlessness appears to be simply enabling the thugs veto.”
Pellowe added that members of the Antifa-linked protest groups “spat, screamed and uttered abuse at the men and women boarding and alighting from the buses” and that “a number of male members of the … groups displayed their genitals.”
Southern and Molyneux visited Australia in late-July to talk about immigration, feminism, gender and Islam. Southern was blocked from entering Sydneys densely-Muslim populated suburb by police over fears of agitation and “imminent breach of the peace.”
Southern is no stranger to causing upset in Muslim communities. In the lead-up to one of her shows in England, the Canadian provocateur was seen handing out pamphlets that read Allah is gay – a move that saw her permanently banned from the United Kingdom, and may have been a factor in the “unusually prolonged [visa] application process” for Southerns Australian speaking tour.
Southerns tour is not the first to be issued with large security bills from the police force – right-wing activist Milo Yiannopoulos faced a similar bill after a visit in December 2017. Violent protests broke out as the show descended into chaos. It is understood that Yiannopoulos is yet to pay his bill, charged to him under Victoria Polices 2014 Fees and Charges Regulations act which states that police have the right to charge any event organizer for the use of police resources.
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